Plagianthus regius, like many New Zealand natives, has a juvenile form that becomes a straight trunked medium to large tree. The juvenile form has bushy interlacing branches with small leaves, while an older tree will tend to have larger leaves, sometimes with the lower parts of the tree still displaying divaricating leaves. A profusion of small white or green flowers appears in large panicles in spring making it easier to distinguish from the similar lacebark.
It is considered the largest of New Zealand’s deciduous trees growing up to 15 metres, and grows in the North, South and Stewart Islands. An endemic species found in lowland forests throughout New Zealand. Tolerates dry exposed sites, also a wide range of soils, including riparian edge.
The bark of the Plagianthus regius was used in Māori traditional textiles such as in fishing nets. For more information on plant use, refer to Landcare Research’s Ribbonwood page.